Healthy Food Connect Initiative provides funding to nonprofits working to improve healthy food access for children and seniors

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan today announced it will award $2 million in grants to 20 programs designed to improve healthy food access for children and seniors in southeast Michigan. The grants are part of a two-year regional initiative called Healthy Food Connect, funded by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and the Community Foundation.

Children and seniors are the two groups most affected by food insecurity in the seven-county region, and overall more than 780,000 people do not have consistent access to the foods they need to live healthy lives.

The Community Foundation’s Healthy Food Connect initiative seeks to connect children and seniors throughout the region to the people, places, programs and services necessary to ensure they have healthy food options every day. Through grantmaking and a series of coordinated education and training efforts, Healthy Food Connect will support and grow existing exemplary activities; extend the geographic reach and scope of successful programs; and foster additional collaboration and innovation in the regional food system network.

“We are pleased to support a diverse group of nonprofit organizations in pooling their collective expertise and resources to make a difference in the lives of children and seniors,” said Mariam C. Noland, president of the Community Foundation. “This is one of the largest regional healthy food access initiatives ever undertaken in southeast Michigan, and we believe it is going to have an impact on our youngest and oldest residents for years to come.”

 

Healthy Food Connect grants support projects that are collaborative, innovative and directly linked to food and health. Priority was given to projects with a strong health component, as well as those designed to expand or replicate successful food access projects or take innovative approaches to existing problems. Applications were accepted from partnerships of two or more organizations working together. The 20 programs funded reflect the collaborative efforts of 72 organizations across all seven counties of southeast Michigan.

 

Two different levels of funding were available. Leadership grants of up to $200,000 were made to support larger scale programs with the potential for systemic impact. Local impact grants of up to $75,000 were made to support projects with a smaller reach and/or that test out new ideas.